Mary Beth Writes

Warning message

The subscription service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.
Notice: Trying to get property 'id' of non-object in mailchimp_signup_subscribe_form() (line 364 of /home/v76tv3bo2e1q/public_html/mb1242020/sites/all/modules/mailchimp/modules/mailchimp_signup/mailchimp_signup.module).

10/13/2021

“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

This synopsis is from Europa Editions. This is the URL   

“This novel takes place in the imaginary town of Kalep, where a fundamentalist Islamist government has spread its brutal authority.

Under the regime of the so-called Brotherhood, two young people are publicly executed for having loved each other. In response, their mothers begin a secret correspondence, their only outlet for the grief they share and each woman’s personal reckoning with a leadership that would take her beloved child’s life.

At the same time, spurred on by their indignation at what seems to be an escalation of The Brotherhood’s brutality, a band of intellectuals and free-thinkers seeks to awaken the conscience of the cowed populace and foment rebellion by publishing an underground newspaper. While they grapple with the implications of what they have done, the regime’s brutal leader begins a personal crusade to find the responsible parties and bring them to his own sense of justice.”

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1990. French is his first language; this book was translated into English recently. Sarr studied literature and philosophy in Paris.

The Brotherhood is an Islamist organization that overtook the fictional African city in which the story happens. The leader of the military is utterly devout and utterly confident that he is saving people from slipshod western ways. He and his military underlings patrol the town continually for people who are not acting purely. The book begins with the executions of the young lovers. There will be more instances of brutality. These incidents are not overwritten, the point of the novel is not to scare us, but to invite us to belong to people who don’t know how to get their good and stable lives back.

This is the question that kept me turning the pages. We don’t live in that brutality, but most of us are fearful for what could happen, for what seems to sometimes be happening in dribs and drabs around us. Our sassy and beloved freedoms are eroding in the name of purity and power. 

This chilling description of people giving up communicating.

I found this curious and powerful. That when one is under extreme pressure and duress – where can we and should we turn? These brave characters, after weeks of discussion, decide to publish a journal. Do we underestimate our power to affect our communities through writing and reading?

For anyone who has lost a child. This line. “I feel like I’m carrying him inside me a second time.”

What interesting statements. People are dangerous and unpredictable and people are our only recourse.  

I feel as if I sat in a master class of humans who thought hard and risked so much to find ways to oppose oppression.

 

 

Tags

Comments

Leonard's picture

I have been reading de Tocqueville, which is maybe the nerdiest thing I've done in quite a while. He wrote about the United States in 1835, and he was very perceptive about what would make the US succeed, and potentially fail, as a democracy. A lot of what he says is contradictory, including the idea that people always push back against a dictator ... but when one group has an opinion not shared by another group, the group in the minority will push back against the majority with all the hatred and rebellious energy as if the majority were a dictator. Kind of like what's going on now.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

A few Ideas for Gifts & Presents

12/3/2021

One of my favorite lines this year: “Our family does Christmas cards at 20 paces.” (I apologize that I don’t remember the author.)

Three Things 12022021

12/2/2021

I’ve had so many interesting thoughts in the past ten days. These thoughts have whirled into my mind, swirled in circles like a canoer too dazzled by the beauty of the terrain to think about what that roaring sound is – and then whoosh over the waterfalls of my brain to disappear. Such is adult life.

Waukesha's Holiday Parade & Us

This photo is of Milwaukee's 'Dancing Grannies'. Some of them were killed and hurt yesterday. 

11/22/2021

Coming & Going

11/18/2021

And just like that, my website is back.

Behind every website are a zillion lines of code. If you want to see what that looks like behind a page you are perusing – do this: On a computer (not on a phone) right click on any segment of a website. A box will open, click on Inspect and that will show you the code being used in that part of that website. You can’t mess with it, but you can see it.

...and we’re home …

11/12/2021

Many of you sent emails and notes and we read every single one. Thank you! We loved the photos of where you live and what you are seeing in your world … and Neal, that fish that you caught is BIG!

A very small update on the very big upheaval In Len’s and my life

11/7/2021

We are doing pretty well. Len has 46 staples in his head – the rehab admitting person counted them. Not sure if I wanted to know, but now I do.

His mind, brain, coordination, balance, and motor movements all seem to be exactly the way they always were. Twice he has politely helped the professional therapists who are helping him – unscramble some confusing things on their computers.  

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent anniversary antlers apples Arrows Ashland August Augustine baby balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada cat romance cats cello Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering depression Destination Today Detroit disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd ghosts gifts gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark groceries Guatemala guns happiness HaveYouEver? Healthinsurance HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HouseinBlueRiver hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland Ocotillo OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Remember Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb rime RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding WhyAttendChurch Willa WillaCather Wisteria
Ad Promotion